We’re still not into the period of time in which we’ll learn about patch 5.3 for Final Fantasy XIV. Indeed, there’s a lot of life left in this expansion right now. But we already do know some of the things we can expect because, well, the way that FFXIV expansions work is a pretty well-known formula at this point.
No one is going to be surprised when we get a new dungeon in each of the next three patches; heck, no one is even questioning that we will get three new patches.
Of course, the one part that is up in the air is some things which are featured parts of every expansion thus far but have yet to show up even in previews.
So today I want to look at some of those features, where they might turn up or what form they might take, and how likely it is that we’ll see them after all. That’s right, it’s more speculation!
Deep Dungeon, round three
Ever since this got added midway through Heavensward, players have been down for the Deep Dungeon.
In Heavensward, it was continually going down through the Palace of the Dead. In Stormblood, we climbed up through Heaven-on-High. And in Shadowbringers… well, we just don’t know at all yet! But we all kind of expect we’re getting this, and I tend to agree with that speculation.
The big question, for me, is just a matter of where. It was pretty obvious that Heaven-on-High was going to be used for something, so using it for the endless dungeon made perfect sense. This time, though, it’s a bit more ambiguous about where it will be, especially if we assume that Stormblood was setting a precedent by having it located within the expansion instead of an old area.
If we don’t have to have it on the First, of course, there are honestly a fair number of options, including the various small islands off the coast of Limsa Lominsa, the potential pathways in the Burning Wall in Thanalan, or even the winding paths beneath the Crystal Tower in Mor Dhona.
On the First, though… there are more Ronkan ruins possible, although that’d make Rak’tika start feeling a bit crowded. There’s also the side mines around Malikah’s Well or the many buildings in the depths of Amaurot in the Tempest.
Any of the above would make sense to me. Which ones we’ll actually get… well, I don’t know just yet. But I look forward to finding out, which will probably be with teasing once 5.3 previews hit.
Hildibrand Returns After the Previous Returning
Actually, I feel like this one might not happen at all. But maybe it will.
Hildibrand’s quests are usually the comic relief for a given expansion; while they’re far from the only funny thing happening, they’re always directly pitched to be more silly and amusing compared to other sidequests and the game’s general tone.
However, he’s also very much an occupant of the Source, and one of the general unwritten rules of Hildibrand quests is that nothing within them is actually allowed to break the rules of the world. Everything that happens within them is still real.
So while Godbert Manderville is an absurd nudist with a ridiculous hammer and a penchant for goldsmithing and is played for laughs in the Hildibrand storyline, he’s… still all of that outside of it. The man runs the Gold Saucer, he shows up in the MSQ, he’s still a known presence.
This means that Hildibrand showing up on the First would require some explanation, and it’s not immediately clear if any could feel appropriate without breaking the continuity a bit.
Then again… given that 5.3 seems lined up to solve the Scion’s travel problems, perhaps that coincides with a chance for Hildibrand to wind up in the Crystarium and offer the people of the First his unique brand of problem-solving (which generally is more like problem-causing).
It’ll be interesting to see if it happens; we definitely could use a little more humour after the bleakness that this story has overall marinated in.
Our next beast tribe
We expect three beast tribe reputations. We’ve usually had three beast tribe reputations. The sole exception was in the pre-expansion game, and that was when we were getting a tribe for all of the five tribes already flitting around Eorzea; that situation just isn’t comparable to any of the expansions, which thus far have featured three.
But Shadowbringers has already broken up the usual pattern because instead of two combat lines and a crafting line, we have one combat line, one gathering line, and… we don’t know.
On the one hand, this expansion thus far has definitely been heavy on the content for crafting. The whole Ishgardian Restoration setup has ensured that crafters have plenty to do, so it would make a certain amount of sense if there’s not a crafting-only set of daily quests later on down the line.
At the same time, the daily rewards from the pixie quests are already substantial; it could be that we’re going to have one crafting, one gathering, and one combat line to split things up more evenly.
The other question is where we’d even find one. It seems like having the dwarves already serving as a focal point for the NieR crossover means that they’re not really suited for being our crafting line, but in terms of existing groups that just leaves the Ondo… and while there are definitely differences between them and the Source fish tribe, they don’t feel substantial enough to justify a completely different lineup.
Adding the Qitari has made it clear that we can get new tribes coming in from off-camera, to be fair. While we get hints about the Namazu during the Qitari line, I doubt they’ll be back to just be the crafting tribe again; more to the point, it would be weird (again) to have another questline dealing with a beast tribe we already know on the Source.
It’s certainly possible we could be surprised with some other option, though, as the First may very well have Goblins, Gigases, or even some other tribe heretofore without parallels on the Source…
More crafting and custom deliveries
Have I mentioned that this has been a craft-heavy expansion? Because it has. But crafting content is at its best when it covers a broad spectrum of options, and that includes custom deliveries with new clients. We got a grand total of three through Stormblood, so I kind of expect another one in 5.3 as well, along with one more tier of crafting gear.
If the next beast tribe is indeed a crafting tribe, that last tier will probably tie into the questline; otherwise, though, it might just as easily tie in with Ishgard Restoration (which the Skysteel Tools line is implied to be linked with).
It’s even possible that we’ll get the same basic progression with crafting gear that we get with combat gear, with another set raising the cap even further once 5.4 rolls around. That does seem a touch off, though; Facet gear was 5.1, but adding another set in 5.5 seems like it would have a limited shelf life if it alternates compared to combat gear…
Still, I’m hoping we get some custom deliveries that touch on some characters I like better than Kai-Shirr. He’s kind of a whiny git.